NTN launches command exercises to enhance
New Territories North (NTN) Region launched a series of command exercises on January 26, which will eventually run throughout the year to enhance the operational readiness and inter-unit coordination within the Region. The first of the series, Exercise EARTHHELPER, involved frontline commanders at Chief Inspector and above ranks from NTN Formations, as well as Marine Region, and focused on the illegal immigrant landings and illegal smuggling activities along the regional coastline.
NTN Regional Commander Austin Kerrigan set the tone of the full-day command exercise by highlighting the importance of a coordinated response among units of Marine and NTN Regions as well as the need to ensure that systems and procedures were regularly tested and continuously improved to meet changing needs.
Exercise EARTHHELPER was run as a real-time simulation and based on actual case studies and incidents. Information was fed into the exercise via interactive map boards and radio messages. Participants were then required to respond to, and make judgments based on, the information received, resources available, geographical features and other relevant factors.
"The exercises were well planned and able to readily demonstrate key areas where inter-regional co-operation and communication are critical," said one of the participants. Another participant added that useful tactics and resource implications in deployment were discussed among the participants during the whole one-day session.
The command exercise was run by Emergency Unit (EU) NTN and Superintendent EU Mark Ford-McNicol commented that the input from the participants, particularly from Marine Region who highlighted their technological capabilities, was very impressive and marked a good start to the other exercises planned for 2011. Using interactive map boards, live data feed and mobile CACCS 3 input not only facilitated the participants but also fine-tuned the skill sets of EU NTN officers to respond to major incidents.
The next exercise, codenamed FIRESWEEPER, will be held next month to test the Region's preparedness for natural disasters, ahead of the next rainy season.
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